The Bridge

He didn’t set out to capture an icon in an image that’s instantly classic, but that’s pretty much what happened. “It was a walkabout on a foggy day,” Chris Ford says. “I sometimes like to shoot on foggy days in Manhattan, and I live on the Lower East Side, so getting down to the Brooklyn Bridge was relatively easy.”

TECH TALK: Chris took this photo of a bridge near enough with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and an EF 28mm f/1.8 USM lens. The camera was set for 1/6400 sec, f/1.8, ISO 400, manual exposure, and spot metering.
© Chris Ford

Chris crossed the bridge and then ventured over to Dumbo on the Brooklyn side. “But this was taken looking back toward Manhattan; it’s so foggy you can’t see the city.” Then the couple came along and added red boots, patterned umbrella, and mid-step gesture to the day’s story. “I assumed they were tourists,” Chris says. “There are always tourists on the bridge.”

There’s no desaturation of color here—“it was so overcast there wasn’t much saturation to start with”—but bumping the exposure up one stop over the meter added to the muted look.

The square format seemed to best fit the photo. “The crop worked well for the perspective,” Chris says. “There was more empty space to the right of the image, so in this case the square made a better composition.”

Off-center elements like the bridge structure, the people, and the walkway’s centerline make for a more dynamic photograph. “I studied architecture, and we had to draw these great perspective images. My professor encouraged us to kind of mix it up. I find that off-centering is almost like drawing from behind yourself, and I think I’ve trained my eye to do that in photography.”

Googling Chris Ford and Flickr will bring you to his Wandering the World image collection.